Superbubble dynamics in globular cluster infancy. I. How do globular clusters first lose their cold gas?

M. Krause, C. Charbonnel, T. Decressin, G. Meynet, N. Prantzos, R. Diehl

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The picture of the early evolution of globular clusters has been significantly revised in recent years. Current scenarios require at least two generations of stars of which the first generation (1G), and therefore also the protocluster cloud, has been much more massive than the currently predominating second generation (2G). Fast gas expulsion is thought to unbind the majority of the 1G stars. Gas expulsion is also mandatory to remove metal-enriched supernova ejecta, which are not found in the 2G stars. It has long been thought that the supernovae themselves are the agent of the gas expulsion, based on crude energetics arguments. Here, we assume that gas expulsion happens via the formation of a superbubble, and describe the kinematics by a thin-shell model. We find that supernova-driven shells are destroyed by the Rayleigh-Taylor instability before they reach escape speed for all but perhaps the least massive and most extended clusters. More power is required to expel the gas, which might plausibly be provided by a coherent onset of accretion onto the stellar remnants. The resulting kpc-sized bubbles might be observable in Faraday rotation maps with the planned Square Kilometre Array radio telescope against polarised background radio lobes if a globular cluster would happen to form in front of such a radio lobe.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L5
Number of pages4
JournalAstronomy & Astrophysics
Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2012


  • globular clusters: general, ISM: bubbles, ISM: jets and outflows


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